[acimlessons_list] Lesson 9 - January 9
sue at circleofa.org
Fri Jan 8 08:37:33 EST 2010
Lesson 9 - January 9
"I see nothing as it is now."
Exercise: 3 or 4 times, for 1 minute
Look about you, applying the idea without discrimination or exclusion to
whatever you see. Begin with things near you: "I do not see this [telephone,
arm, etc.] as it is now." Then extend the range outward: "I do not see that
[door, face, etc.] as it is now."
Remarks: You may accept this idea, but you do not really understand it, nor
are you expected to. Understanding is not the prerequisite for this
practice; rather, understanding is the goal of this practice. These
exercises are meant to undo your illusion that you understand things, and by
clearing this blockage away, allow true understanding to finally dawn on
your mind. So at this point simply practice the idea, even if you do not
understand it, find it disturbing, or even actively resist it.
If I see only the past, and my mind is preoccupied with past thoughts, then
obviously I see nothing as it is now. I love the fact that the lesson goes
on to say, "But while you may be able to accept it intellectually, it is
unlikely that it will mean anything to you as yet." The Course clearly
recognizes a vast difference between intellectually accepting something and
truly understanding the same idea, so that it has become a part of us. I
think of the stages of grief when a loved one dies. Immediately after the
death, we may intellectually accept that our beloved is gone, but we have
not truly grasped and assimilated that fact. It takes time for the reality
of it to sink in.
Likewise, we can accept the idea that we see nothing as it is now, but it
may be some time before the meaning of that fact truly begins to dawn on us.
Fortunately the lesson continues by saying that it isn't necessary, at this
stage, for us to understand, and that, in fact, what <is> necessary is the
recognition that we <do not> understand! You might say that one of the
things we are to grasp from this lesson is that we don't understand it!
It makes a kind of sense if you think about it. "These exercises are
concerned with practice, not with understanding. You do not need to practice
what you already understand." Some people may feel that it doesn't make
sense to work with an idea you don't fully understand or believe. I've heard
people ask questions like, "How can I work with a lesson like, 'I am the
holy Son of God Himself' if I don't really believe that?" And the answer is,
if you believed it already, you wouldn't need to work with the lesson!
Helping you understand or believe is what the practice is for.
The attitude of recognizing our real ignorance is vital to learning. Without
it, our false "understanding" gets in the way of learning. So when a lesson
such as this one, "I see nothing as it is now," rubs you the wrong way or
leaves you feeling that you don't really know what it is talking about--just
be honest that you feel that way. Don't make the mistake of pretending you
already understand when you don't. The lessons are designed with our
ignorance in mind.
"It is difficult for the untrained mind to believe that what it seems to
picture is not there." Difficult? Nearly impossible is more like it. The
idea is disturbing; most of us will actively resist it in some way or
another. <That's OK.> That does not keep you from applying the idea anyhow,
and that is all that is asked of us. (Remember the Introduction to the
Workbook and its last two paragraphs? If not, read them over in this
regard.) Just do the exercises anyhow, even if your mind is resisting the
entire idea; it will still have the desired effect.
Notice how the lesson talks about "each small step" clearing away a little
darkness until understanding finally comes. The tone of these lessons, and
indeed the entire Course, should not lead us to believe that we will reach
enlightenment quickly. It comes in small steps, little by little. The Course
does say that full enlightenment could come to any of us in any instant, if
we could but open to it; it is nearer to us than our own hands and feet. But
it also says that it will take much longer to make us willing to open than
it will take for that final transformation of mind to occur. It says, "By
far the majority are given a slowly-evolving training program, in which as
many previous mistakes as possible are corrected. Relationships in
particular must be properly perceived, and all dark cornerstones of
unforgiveness removed" (M, p. 25; M-9.1:7, 8). Notice: a "slowly-evolving
training program" is the norm. So don't be so restless or feel like you're
working against some deadline; take things at the pace they come, and work
with the exercises in this Workbook. Be content to slowly evolve. Don't
worry if understanding does not leap full-blown into your mind tomorrow!
The exercises are again deceptively simple, things like, "I do not see this
computer screen as it is now." How is it helping me to say this? I can't say
for sure. I do know that the more often I repeat an idea, the more
reasonable it starts to seem. Maybe that's all there is to it. I know it has
helped me, at times, to remind myself of some situation that seems fearful
or out of control that, "I do not see this situation as it is now in
reality." I can reassure myself that what I am seeing, which seems to be
causing my fear, is not the reality of things. I may not have any idea what
the reality is, but it helps to know that what I am seeing ain't it! The
idea is less reassuring when I apply it to something that I <do> like: "I do
not see this romantic relationship as it is now." Hmmm, not sure I like
that. But if it does nothing more than begin to shake my faith in what I
see, the lesson is doing its job even if I don't fully understand it or like
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